Zanshin I D-400 Wind Generator

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D400 Wind Generator While I was anchored off the end of the runway inside the Simpson Baie lagoon St. Martin I managed to get several good snapshots of jets taking off over Zanshin I.
(2011-01-18 17:34:07 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-105.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/5.6, 1/200s] ISO 320 Focus 4.22m)
[18°2'30.03"N 63°5'39.51"W ]
D400 Wind Generator

In the trade wind belt the breeze is relatively constant, coming from the ENE to ESE most of the time at speeds that average in the teens but sometimes exceed 20 knots. This is optimal for using a wind generator to transform that energy into electricity to charge the batteries. If the wind were always constant then one could dispense with diesel generators, solar panels and other means, but this is not possible. First of all, the amount of electrical power generated by wind doesn't increase linearly, at low wind speeds no power is generated with most devices and the ratio of wind speed to power is more of a logarithmic curve than a straight line.

There are quite a few different generator models available for use on boats, I chose an Aerogen D400 because it was the quietest of all the models. Unfortunately, that silence also translates into additional cost. The various manufacturers all advertise power output charts and curves that show their particular model to be at the top of the heap and the truth about actual output in real conditions is open to debate. Nonetheless, the D400 starts turning at the slightest whisper of a breeze and does a more than respectable job of providing power. It is also no lightweight and is, as far as I know, the heaviest model out there and thus it requires a solid mounting system. I trust that this solidity also implies a long and productive life.

I had Havin's Marine in St. Martin custom build the extruded aluminum mounts, braces and struts for the wind generator and mounted them myself. Havin did an incredible job in a short period of time and I can highly recommend the company (plus they are located right next door to Island Waterworld).

The mounting process was involved and complex. I was anchored right off Marigot in the French side but Havin's was on the Dutch side. I didn't want to clear out of France and clear into Holland (again) plus run the risk of getting stuck in the channel so I rented a car and drove the piece back-and-forth. The main support had to carried several times, mainly because I couldn't measure angles correctly. Once all the support struts had been measured (twice) and cut (once) I finally had all the pieces together and could start the assembly work. Fortunately a fellow singlehander, Bruce from Canada, was anchored next to me and he decided to mount a wind generator as well - so he helped me lift up and attach mine and I helped him with his; without a doubt I got the better end of that deal since his was a much smaller and lighter generator. All in all the effort was worth it and Zanshin I got a blue-water worthy generator that is so silent that it can barely be heard, even when the wind picks up.

Downloadable Manuals page - D400 Wind Generator

Measuring angles for the transom mount
Sunset behind a D400 Another fine Caribbean sunset seen from the Simpson Baie Lagoon from Zanshin I with the D400 wind generator pumping out the amps.

[18°2'30.03"N 63°5'39.51"W ]
Sunset behind a D400
Deck mount for the side strut with anti-vibration pad.
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